Captain Rostron


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Caroline Mendes Ferreira

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Captain Rostron I admire him very much for his work as captain on the night of the Titanic disaster, because it immediately changed their course the speed of 17 knots. For this he was commended for his action.
 
Captain Rostron is, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked heroes of the Titanic tragedy. From the moment Captain Rostron was informed of the distress messages received from Titanic, every order he issued was intended to get to the stricken ship as quickly as possible, all the while preparing his own ship to receive the survivors and give them the care they needed.

Top speed for Carpathia was about 14.5 knots, but Rostron ordered extra stokers to create the additional steam that would accelerate the ship to more than 17 knots. Rostron even ordered a reduction in the ship’s heating system so that more steam could be diverted to the engines. This extra speed was not without a significant degree of peril, however, as Carpathia endured its own hazards, dodging icebergs along the entire 58-mile route.
Much later Rostron noted that the safety of his crew and passengers, and the survival of any Titanic survivors they might reach, “depended on the sudden turn of the wheel.” As Carpathia steamed through this obstacle course, Rostron assembled all of his officers and issued a myriad of orders. He had his ship’s lifeboats lowered in case they were needed to assist in the recovery of survivors. He assigned the three doctors under his command to specific stations in order to administer medical care. He oversaw the conversion of public areas on the ship, as well as the officers’ cabins, into spaces where survivors would be provided with blankets and hot drinks while they recovered from their ordeal. Finally, he saw to it that chair clings and other apparatuses were constructed in the gangway to hoist aboard children and the injured.

This was a very big risk for Rostron to take, and had the Carpathia struck an iceberg itself, his "heroic deeds" might not have been perceived as such. However, luck was on his side and the rescue went as well as it could under the circumstances.
 

Tommy

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Jul 21, 2012
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Captain Rostron is, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked heroes of the Titanic tragedy. From the moment Captain Rostron was informed of the distress messages received from Titanic, every order he issued was intended to get to the stricken ship as quickly as possible, all the while preparing his own ship to receive the survivors and give them the care they needed.

Top speed for Carpathia was about 14.5 knots, but Rostron ordered extra stokers to create the additional steam that would accelerate the ship to more than 17 knots. Rostron even ordered a reduction in the ship’s heating system so that more steam could be diverted to the engines. This extra speed was not without a significant degree of peril, however, as Carpathia endured its own hazards, dodging icebergs along the entire 58-mile route.
Much later Rostron noted that the safety of his crew and passengers, and the survival of any Titanic survivors they might reach, “depended on the sudden turn of the wheel.” As Carpathia steamed through this obstacle course, Rostron assembled all of his officers and issued a myriad of orders. He had his ship’s lifeboats lowered in case they were needed to assist in the recovery of survivors. He assigned the three doctors under his command to specific stations in order to administer medical care. He oversaw the conversion of public areas on the ship, as well as the officers’ cabins, into spaces where survivors would be provided with blankets and hot drinks while they recovered from their ordeal. Finally, he saw to it that chair clings and other apparatuses were constructed in the gangway to hoist aboard children and the injured.

This was a very big risk for Rostron to take, and had the Carpathia struck an iceberg itself, his "heroic deeds" might not have been perceived as such. However, luck was on his side and the rescue went as well as it could under the circumstances.
He has never been overlooked. He has always been praised for his heroism that night.
 

Tommy

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By many accounts, whether it be Hollywood or literature, he has not been given the credit due to him. If you doubt this, ask some random people about the Titanic and see how many know about Rostron. In my opinion, he's greatly overlooked.
Well, I'll admit, he wasn't given credit in James Cameron's Titanic movie. In it, the Carpathia racing to the rescue isn't shown (apart from a brief bit at the end that shows survivors on it).
 
Well, I'll admit, he wasn't given credit in James Cameron's Titanic movie. In it, the Carpathia racing to the rescue isn't shown (apart from a brief bit at the end that shows survivors on it).
And to side with James Cameron. I do understand where he came from in regards to this. Just like the Californian's scenes being cut, Cameron ultimately had to focus on the Jack/Rose story. That's the story he was telling and wasn't intending to make a documentary. I know a lot of us Titanic buffs would have loved to see more, but sadly that's not why the general public bought a movie ticket.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>because it immediately changed their course the speed of 17 knots.<<

Uhhhh....Caroline, the Carpathia NEVER made 17 knots. The hull was literally incapable of doing so even if they had twice the horsepower they actually did.
 

Bob Godfrey

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If a 'fact' is wrong then it stays wrong no matter how many times it's repeated. Check out Dave Gittins' account of the physical realities of the situation and his suggestion of why Rostron overestimated his speed - basically because the Titanic's true position was closer than the distress calls had indicated, so the Carpathia's rescue run covered a lesser distance than Rostron supposed.

Carpathia's Rescue Mission
 
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Caroline Mendes Ferreira

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Michael said the Carpathia never done this speed, but from what I know countless research I did the Carpathia arrived at that speed.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Michael said the Carpathia never done this speed, but from what I know countless research I did the Carpathia arrived at that speed. <<

No she didn't. You're parroting the legend, not the reality.

The ship wasn't even remotely capable of doing that speed. Part of the misunderstanding stems from the fact that the real position of the Titanic was 13 miles closer then the position that was given.
 

Jim Currie

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Boa Tarde Caroline.

Michael and Bob are correct. Carpathia was not capable of 17 knots unless she had a 2 knot current helping the engines and a very strong wind blowing her along.

Carpathia had 58 miles to run from where she turned at half past midnight to the false( incorrecto posicao do angustia?))distress position.
At 4pm, after 3 hours and 30 minutes, she arrived at the survivors. The position where they were was on the east side of the ice and only 49 miles away from where she started. If she travelled 49 miles in 3 hours and 30 minutes, her speed was exactly 14 knots, not 17 knots.
Captain Rostron made a very big mistake in his navigation. He forgot about the Gulf Stream. He did not find the survivors because of his skill as a navigator but because Titanic's 4th Officer Boxhall was clever enough to put green flares in his boat before leaving Titanic. If Boxhall had not had green flares on his boat, Rostron would have kept going and possibly hit the same ice berg as did Titanic or run into the pack ice. To my mind, Rostron was very much like many so-called heroes. He risked the lives of every single person on his ship. Fortunately for him,them and the survivors, it all turned out well.
Not only that, but by sending up rockets on his way to the rescue, he might have drawn other rescue ships away from the scene of the disaster and toward his own ship and we might now be discussing a loss of life twice as big as it was.

See here for a picture of what I mean:

Path of Carpathia.JPG

I don't think Captain Rostron was a hero.. just a very lucky man at the right place at the right time. The real heroes were Titanic's engineers and crew members who stayed at their posts trying to save the ship until it was too late for them to save themselves.

Jim C.

PS the word Hero is used very badly in this case (and quite ofter in English).
Rostron did not make any personal sacrifice or do anything out of the ordinary. He did his duty. If anything, he risked his ship, crew and passengers without properly calculating the risk involved. He took a gamble and it payed-off handsomely for him. The rest is history.

Path of Carpathia.JPG
 
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Talira Greycrest

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Just been reading through one of my favourite books, "The Titanic Experience" by Beau Riffenburgh, and what Captain Rostron did to help the survivors was amazing. Not only did he have Carpathia's three doctors establish separate medical stations in the dining rooms but he also had his crew stock all public areas and available cabins with blankets, warm clothing, food and hot drinks. Electric lights were hung over the sides to make boarding easier and ladders, chair slings, nets and even bags for small children were made available to help get the survivors on board. Even the cranes to prepared to haul up and luggage or mail that might have been saved. Rostron's good deeds didn't stop there. He also reunited a teenage Third Class survivor with her 10-month-old son, whom she'd been separated from as Titanic was being evacuated.
 
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Talira Greycrest

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Amazing? What makes what he did "amazing?" Would someone else do any less?
In my opinion, what he did was amazing because all those people he helped were complete strangers, they were people he'd never met before, yet he was more than prepared to help and care for every survivor, regardless of their class or status. Since most of the survivors were women, it must have been heartbreaking to witness their grief as they came to realize that they'd lost their husbands, fathers or other relatives.
 

Jim Currie

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As with every captain and the sailors he commanded, Captain Rostron was very much aware of the concept of salvage money. Not saying that salvage was his prime motivation but you can bet your bottom dollar the idea entered his mind. However, despite breaking every rule in the unwritten rule book, he got a box full of honours for doing so.
Principally, he broke Rule 1.." A master must go to the aid of those in distress. However, in doing so he must not place in danger the lives over those he commands or endanger his ship to the extent that he might do so."
Captain Rostron charged a ship full of people at full speed through an area where he knew for certain there was a very high risk of danger from icebergs.
His navigation was so bad that if it had not been for Boxhall's last minute thought about the green flares, we would now be discussing twin losses involving huge numbers of deaths because Carpathia may have slammed into exactly the same berg as did Titanic. If not that, the pack ice that lay a head of Titanic.
Last but not least, by sending up distress flares when he was way to the south east of Titanic's wrong distress position, he completely disorientated the captains of any potential rescue vessels.

In my book, Captain Rostron was a pompous fool born with incredible luck; luck that manifested itself relatively late in his career; luck that stayed with him to the end of it. There! I've said it...so there.
 

Bill Baird

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>>Michael said the Carpathia never done this speed, but from what I know countless research I did the Carpathia arrived at that speed. <<

No she didn't. You're parroting the legend, not the reality.

The ship wasn't even remotely capable of doing that speed. Part of the misunderstanding stems from the fact that the real position of the Titanic was 13 miles closer then the position that was given.
I agree that the positions of the two ships were probably wrong. However, I am struck by the number of contemporaneous crew member interviews of Carpathia,along with Bissett - who certainly isn't infallible - all mention the 17 knot number at the time, so it wasn't a legend constructed later after the event. One more point to debate.
 

Jim Currie

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The distress position sent out by Titanic was most certainly wrong. However,I don't think that the position used by Captain Rostron as his starting off point to go to the rescue was very far out. The reason I say this is because like Chief Officer Stewart of the Californian and 2nd Officer Lightoller of the Titanic, the navigating officer of the Carpathia would have had perfect conditions to determine the ship's position using his sextant. There was a very high pressure system in the area and all the ships in a wide circle would be enjoying calm, cloudless conditions at dusk. That happen about 5 hours previous to Captain Rostron hearing of Titanic's plight. It follows that the last fix position for Carpathia would have been a good one. If she was making 15 knots due to some help from the Gulf Stream, she would only have covered a distance of about 75 miles farther east when the distress call was received.
She turned and headed for the false distress position but my guess is that the easterly setting Gulf Steam pushed them side-ways to the eastward of their intended course. Ironically, if there had been a south -setting current as believed by some, it would have off-set the easterly push and Carpathia might easily have found herself in the same place as the Mount Temple - on the wrong side of the ice barrier. If that had happened and Boxhall had not set off his green flares, we might now be writing about the total loss of all those on the Titanic.
 

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